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Hairy Vetch and Triticale Cover Crops for N Management in Soils

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Document pages: 13 pages

Abstract: Over-application of fertilizer to cropland adversely affects both environmental and agricultural ecosystems. This study examined whether planting a legume-based winter cover crop mix offsets fertilizer application via natural nitrogen inputs. The influence of the cover crop mixture on available nutrients was also assessed. Hairy vetch (Vicia villosa) and winter triticale (×triticosecale) cover crops were planted in fall and terminated in May. Soil fertility data was collected before and after planting the winter cover crop to determine the effect on fixing nitrogen and soil phosphorus, potassium and organic matter levels. Increases of soil ammonium were observed in plots with cover crop treatments. A triticale-hairy vetch cover crop mix was successful at scavenging P for future crops and appears to hold promise for long-term soil fertility benefits.

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